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Nintendo 3DS Available March 27 for £229

Launch date and pricing for glasses-free 3D games handheld

The Nintendo 3DS glasses-free 3D games handheld will launch on March 25 in the UK and sell for £229, the company revealed at a press event today. You'll be able to buy one in "cobalt blue" or "cosmo black," and unlike prior DS handhelds which employed a fixed stylus, the 3DS will include one that telescopes.

Calling today "a big day for Nintendo," Nintendo American COO Reggie Fils-Aime described the company's forthcoming flagship handheld as "a different kind of 3D," referring to the devices ability to produce 3D images without the need for special eyewear. It'll also be the only device in existence that couples a 3D top screen with an opposing touchscreen.

Nintendo 3DS: In With the Old, In With the New

Nintendo reiterated much of what we already knew before building to the price and launch date finale. The top 3D screen will be 10% bigger than the DSI's. It'll be backward compatible with DS and DSi downloadable games. You'll be able to snap 3D pictures and watch 3D videos. It'll have an analog thumb joystick just above the traditional d-pad. And it'll have both a gyroscope and accelerometer, allowing it to recognize both directional and velocity-related motion.

Nintendo's also learning from its competition. Like Microsoft Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the 3DS will include a "home" button that allows players to break out of an application and switch to others.

The company claimed it'll offer 30 games between the system's launch in March and the E3 2011 video game convention in June. Titles briefly teased at the event included Pilotwings Resort (think Wii Sports Resort), Nintendogs + Cats (pets can recognize you, but won't be as kind to strangers), Steel Diver (a submarine game where you use the 3DS's gyroscope as a periscope), Dead or Alive Dimensions (a 3D fighter), Super Street Fighter IV 3D (another 3D fighter), and Madden Football (3D gameflow with arcade-style play calls).

Nintendo 3DS: Tweak, Spot, Fight!

A special 3DS features called "Spot Pass," which allows two 3DS units near each other to exchange information automatically, will also allow games like Super Street Fighter IV to be played silently. Imagine your customized game character knocking arms, elbows, and knees with someone else's while your 3DS units sit in pockets or backpacks on a train or in an airplane.

Nintendo revealed the 3DS will ship with several bundled apps as well, including a pedometer-style fitness tool (think Wii Fit in your pocket), an "enhanced" web browser, a "Mii Maker" avatar creation tool, and a shooter dubbed Face Raider that snaps a picture of your face to use in lieu of a ship. Yeah, that last one sounds a little weird to me too.

If you're into Game Boy nostalgia, the 3DS will include both Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulators with games downloadable from Nintendo's online store. No word on a Game Boy Advance emulator yet.

The company says it's planning interactive demos across the country with some 5,000 units available for customers to try the device out. Showing is of course Nintendo's biggest challenge with the 3D. You can't demo 3D gaming with static pictures or non-3D trailers after all.

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